Getting Down with IP Protection – Part 3: Trademarks and Copyrights
Author: Lisa Douglas-Paul
Picture this 📸. It makin’ real hot outside – ☀️ that yard wuk nearly kill yuh 😰. Yuh need something a lil’ stronger than water to cool yuh down. 🍺 So yuh reach for a beastly cold Carib Beer. Yuh pop the cork off, take a few gulps. Ahhhhh! Daz what we talkin’ bout! But as yuh reach for de next sip, something catches your eye. Right next to that newly designed Carib Beer logo is the tiniest ®. Waz dat, bai?! 👀
That, my friend, is a symbol representing a beautiful bit of Intellectual Property or IP protection we call Trademarks and means that not one man jack can copy Carib’s new signature trademarked logo, for at least the next ten years.
Trademarks can be used to protect almost anything that is visibly unique about your brand including your business’ name, logos, sounds and even colours. In Trinidad and Tobago, between 2011 and 2020 alone, there were approximately five thousand resident trademark registrations!
Many of our region’s top brands have benefitted from IP protection but trust us, it can also be very useful for smaller companies as well. The difference is that smaller firms do not usually focus on IP in the beginning of their business planning efforts, but this is the same kind of thinking that can allow larger predatory firms to take them out the game before they can get one product in play.
Copyrights are just as essential for our region of incredibly creative minds. They can be used to protect anything from the next big tune for Road March to a new app. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization or WIPO, Copyrights are essentially rights that creators have over their literary and artistic works and can cover anything ranging from books, music, paintings, and films to computer programs, databases, and technical drawings. This type of protection usually lasts about 70 years. So trust us when we say that copyright protection is practically a gift sent from heaven for any Caribbean mas maker, soca singer, programmer or manufacturer. 🎭 👩🏿🎤 👩🎨
Trademarks and Copyrights are two of the most popular forms of IP used today and are part of what we believe to be the basic tools in the IP starter kit for small businesses.
If you’re still not sure about what you can or should protect about your business, head down to one of the fourteen local IP offices here in the Caribbean to see how you can get IP protected and powered up!
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